Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fosie de Gaff

Gavin's discovered his hands and his toys!
Maddie likes to bring him "Fosie de Gaff" (Sophie the Giraffe) when he's "Sad!" and then she tells him to, "Eat et," rather forcefully. Sometimes he complies.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Giggle and a Grin

We take a lot of videos. We do. We just don't do anything with them. We'll try and change that!
What a happy little boy!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dancing With Polar Bears

So I've recently fallen in love with Picasa photo editing - it is so much fun. I couldn't resist making a collage of these cute girls at the zoo! Check out those (sort of) synchronized dance moves. Oh how I love those cuties!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Tot School and More!

This week's tot trays:
Threading buttons onto heart sticks - this one was tricky!

A little craft with glue and foam hearts.

Sorting pom poms by size.

Pouring with pink, red, and white pony beads (Maddie loves to work on pouring!).

I know what it looks like, but that's actually chocolate-scented play clay.

It was great to see her "get" this activity as the week went on!

When she wants to she can sort them by big and little, but she also just likes to hug the pom poms and rub them on her face.

Making chocolate "candy" for Valentine's Day!

Her favorite part of this was putting her fingers in the glue.

And playing in the box the stuff comes in is just as fun as the trays!

Gavin loves to watch his big sister work!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Cuddle Up!

Some like to cuddle up with a good book, but Zoe's always been partial to cuddling up with a good newborn. Here she managed to snuggle up to both!DSC_0001

Tot School - 22 months

Doing Tot School - having a plan for purposeful play - is so fulfilling for both Maddie and I! We're both having so much fun, and it's so interesting to see which activities she gets and loves right away:DSC_0205

Which ones she struggles with and masters:DSC_0269

Which ones involve skills she just doesn't quite have yet:DSC_0212

and which ones she changes because her way is better!DSC_0020

Of course, making Valentine's with heart doilies and stickers (thanks Aunt Katrina!) was a blast (Maddie was the one who put one sticker on each Valentine and she was working on adding exactly one pom pom to each - she loves order): DSC_0033

And get a load of this awesome puzzle - it was just MADE for a little girl who loves things that GO! (thanks Grandma and Grandpa Bailey!) DSC_0041

There was a lot of "Self, self!" this week, so here's Maddie working diligently on putting glue on the hearts by herself! DSC_0025

She was very pleased with the finished Love Bug project. Can you hear the, "Oooooh!" being exclaimed?DSC_0028

Maddie also made some very special wrapping paper this week! (Thanks to Shannon over at the tpcraft blog for this fantastic idea!)DSC_0228

She did such a great job and clearly enjoyed herself!

So it was another great week at the Bailey household, though I was sick and out of it on Wednesday (Maddie kept telling me I should take a nap). If only! Hope you had a great week, too!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Maddie has been standing at the window the past couple of days shouting, "Trucks!" Road crews have been working in front of our house, and we couldn't resist getting a picture of Maddie with the Bobcat! It was hard to snap a photo with her looking at the camera because she kept turning around to point, "Trucks!".

And on that members, get those "things that go" pictures in as soon as you can!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Happy Valentine Trays!

My plan is to prepare the tot trays each Sunday and post my learning plan for the week. We'll see how long I can keep this up!

Maddie will be sorting these jumbo conversation hearts by color...


and sticking these Valentine-y objects through the holes in this repurposed utensil holder from Ikea...

using tongs to move Valentine erasers from one festive cup to another...

making a Valentine craft...

and arranging some flowers in a block of floral foam (all from the Dollar Tree).

We also picked up a free easel this weekend off of our neighborhood listserv (have I mentioned I love our neighborhood and our listserv?). After a little elbow grease it's ready for some (ab)use so I think we may paint something this week, too. How do you think Maddie feels about the easel?

And while Maddie and I have been focused on her tot time, Dakota's been coaching Gavin on the finer points of programming.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Getting Schooled

Our first week of Tot School was a huge success! Maddie had a great time and Mommy feels like her old teacher self!

We only had two trays this week, but the beans were definitely her favorite. There's something very satisfying about pouring beans from one cup to another...

She spent time with the alphabet beads, too. Getting the beads onto the laces or pipe cleaner took a lot of concentration!

Puzzles have never been Maddie's strong suit - they have always frustrated her. This week, she decided she wanted to do some, and by do some, I mean immediately put the pieces exactly where they were supposed to go. Dakota and I were shocked!

Her favorite part of this week was probably the sensory bin.

She had a blast exploring all of the different items in the bin.

She was especially fond of putting the lima beans into the heart-shaped containers.

And she even shared the sensory bin with Fiona! The two of them made a huge mess were very creative with all of the materials!*

*Note to self: dyed rice looks and feels very cool, but is a pain in the butt to clean up!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Entertaining Gavin

She read him a book...and he loved it!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tubs and Trays!

My February sensory bin is almost ready to go. I dyed some rice pink and it's still drying, but other than that, it's good to go!
There are all sorts of objects that are interesting to the eyes and to the touch inside the tub - smooth lima beans, satiny ribbon, prickly hair rollers, fluffy pom poms, soft flannel, shiny plastic, crinkly paper, sanded wood, glittery letters - all in pink, red, and white for Valentine's Day! Maddie gets to explore the bin tomorrow - I hope she likes it as much as I do!

And our tot trays for this week (just a couple since we're just starting!):
Alphabet beads to string onto pipe cleaners or tipped laces.

Beans to pour between cups - I think she'll love this. She likes putting things inside other things. ;-)

And so Tot School has begun! I'm so excited!

And now, because I know you Grandmas and Grandpas and Aunts and Uncles (and adopted Aunts and Uncles) are dying to know how you can help (ok, maybe you're not dying), we need items to fill our upcoming sensory bins! We're looking for fun items for the upcoming themes: St. Patrick's Day in March, Easter in April, Spring in May, Summer for June, Americana for July, and we need lots of items for continuous alphabet/color/shape/number themes. Also, we need sets of things we can sort by shape, size, color - anything you might have that you no longer need! So if you're cleaning out your cabinets or spot something at the dollar store that has an interesting look or feel, think of Maddie!

And in case you're at a loss for what to get Maddie for her birthday, here are some ideas that will (mostly) help us with Tot School! Maddie's List

Last but not least, if you have any great ideas for tot trays, sensory bins, developing gross and fine motor skills, or anything else, please let me know. This is all very different from teaching middle school!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tot School

Lately I've been looking for educational activities for Maddie that would add some structured fun to our day, but I really hadn't found what I was looking for. Then I learned about Tot School. One click later and my old teacher juices were flowing! I began making plans for Maddie's Tot School, and I ordered supplies to begin our homeschooling journey.

The very next day, Maddie started sorting her felt french fries, crayons, and real pretzels into various containers, then played with some Eco Dough and actually mixed the colors without getting upset, and finally, began stacking towers. That last point is huge, because Maddie's NEVER been into stacking anything. I felt like she was screaming, "I'm ready for Tot School!"

Then I got out some blocks we haven't played with in a while (because she just knocked down my towers and would then insist on putting all the blocks away)...
...and she built more towers!

While we waited for our new goodies from the educational supply store to arrive, I took some Valentine's and hid them around the house and then had her find them. She had a blast! Later Daddy got in on the fun by hiding the cards in more challenging places, too.

Today the box from Discount School Supply arrived! Maddie and I were both very excited.

Maddie just HAD to have some of it opened, so we chose to open a bag of alphabet beads. I showed her how to string them onto laces and pipe cleaners and she was thrilled. I promised her we'd do more soon. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have her February sensory bin ready. "What's that?" you say! Come back tomorrow and find out...there will even be ways that YOU can help!